‘Enormous divisions’: China cautious on G4 calling for UNSC reforms

Foreign ministers of the four nations express their frustration at repeated attempts to stall and derail the reforms process

China on Thursday said there were “enormous divisions” and a lack of consensus on taking forward the stalled reforms of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), a day after the G4 group – India, Brazil, Japan and Germany – called for an early push for text-based negotiations.

The foreign ministers of the four countries that are seeking UNSC reforms and permanent membership of the body met virtually on Wednesday, expressing their frustration at the repeated attempts to stall and derail the reforms process.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said the meeting had “called for a decisive push” and was unanimous in backing “text-based negotiations in a fixed time frame.”

India begins a two-year term as one of the 10 non-permanent UNSC members in January, and has said it will continue pushing for reforms that have failed to materialise over many years.

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The G4 group “expressed disappointment at attempts to derail this process and committed to addressing the issue in a meaningful way and with increased urgency at this 75th anniversary of the UN,” a statement said, adding that “without substantive text based negotiations actually taking place in an intergovernmental setting” this process could not go forward.

Analysts dismissive of G4

Chinese analysts have long been dismissive of the G4, and have in the past indicated that China would not favour the inclusion of at least three of its members for differing reasons – India and Japan considering their historically difficult relations with China, and Germany because it is not a developing country.

On Thursday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin suggested that China’s long-held stance that the reforms process cannot go ahead quickly is unlikely to change.

“We believe the reforms should increase the representation and voice of developing countries and allow more small and medium size countries to enter the Security Council and participate in the decision making,” Mr. Wang said in response to a question on the G4 statement.

“We believe the reform of the Security Council is an important issue which concerns the long term development and all the immediate interests of its members. There have been enormous divisions on this issue and there lacks a widespread consensus on the arrangement for reform,” he said. “China is willing to work with other UN members to seek a package solution that can accommodate all parties’ interests and concerns, through dialogue and negotiation.”

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